Home News Local News Roswell Hispano Chamber expects good year

Roswell Hispano Chamber expects good year

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The Roswell Hispano Chamber of Commerce expects to focus primarily on helping its member businesses and boosting educational achievement among youth, says Executive Director Marcos Nava, but it also has several events planned for the fall including La Noche de Loteria y Pozole. He shows a loteria card from previous years during the June 10 Roswell City Council meeting. (Juno Ogle Photo)

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The Roswell Hispano Chamber of Commerce intends to focus this year on helping its business members succeed and assisting youth and their families in navigating the school system, said Executive Director Marcos Nava.

“I feel that a lot of students get lost in the system because they didn’t do well in school and when there were difficulties, the parents didn’t know how to interact with the schools,” he said.

About the business support, he explained that the pandemic has been hard on many of the business members, with about 75 unable to pay dues, although the chamber keeps them on their membership rolls and hopes they will return.

“What we want to do is to make sure that our members know we are here to help them do well in their business,” he said.

Nava updated the Roswell City Council on June 10 about the chamber’s operations and provided additional information in a Wednesday interview. He described an organization that is functioning well, having weathered the pandemic with more than 125 members on its roster.

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The financials presented to the city, which is expected to provide $30,000 to the group in 2021, show that it had net profits of $25,164 for the January-December 2020 fiscal year. It expects to pay off its only long-term debt obligation by September. That debt is with the Roswell Chamber of Commerce for the 2019 Cinco de Mayo event. The chamber also reported equity, or a positive balance of assets compared to liabilities, of $27,892 at the end of April 2021.

“One of the things we are proud of is that we are conservative on our finances,” he said. “Our expenses are well taken care of.”

The diverse membership is also important to note, he said, with members from all areas of Roswell and all sectors of the economy, from people who have lived here for decades to recent arrivals, from English-only speakers to Spanish-only speakers.

Plans to build business, educate

Nava said that the chamber will continue to hold business workshops that teach its members about various aspects of running, financing and marketing their operations. Business networking events intended to help build cooperative relationships occur through the Tardeadas, or gatherings held after usual business hours. In addition, the organization uses its networks and affiliations with other community organizations to help.

“If I don’t know the answer, or we don’t know the answer as board members, then we recycle other people to reach out to these businesses,” he said. “Our priority is our business members.”

To assist members and their children with school success, the chamber has added two longtime area educators to its at-large membership, current school board member and retired school administrator Mona Kirk and retired school principal and district administrator Louis Mestas.

“We feel that if we help one student stay in school, do better in school, graduate from high school and go to the local university or wherever they want to go, then we have done something good,” Nava said.

The chamber also provides scholarships. This year, it expects to award $750 in scholarships to Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell students and $250 to high school students.

“It isn’t a lot of money, but what we have to give, we do it with a lot of gusto,” he said.

Events to return

Another significant part of the effort to promote businesses and share the Hispanic culture with people in Roswell takes form through events.

The first community event since the coronavirus pandemic closures began in April 2020 will be the 34th annual Pinata Fest from Sept. 10-12 on the Chaves County Courthouse lawn. The event will include not only pinatas, but vendor and food booths, and live music performances. A Catholic mass might also occur on Sunday.

“It is to talk about the origin of pinata, but more importantly, it is right ahead of Sept. 16, the celebration of Mexican independence,” he said.

Other events planned for the year include the Second Annual La Noche de Loteria y Pozole on Oct. 2, with a UFO-themed loteria planned for this year. The chamber also will collaborate for the third year with the Roswell Public Library on the Dia de las Muertas at the end of October, right before the actual Day of the Dead in early November.

Nava said he thinks people are ready to gather again.

“The pandemic should be done with,” he said. “Let’s get stronger. Let’s go back to what we have done good in the past — network, support each other, have some of the events, good events.”

Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.